The relocation of boarders from Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) to senior citizen homes is expected to cost $800,000 in the first year, Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell said yesterday.
Campbell said the initiative is a joint effort with the Ministry of Health, which has on several occasions identified the relocation of boarders as a priority for improving bed capacity for COVID-19 patients during the pandemic.
“In a combined initiative, the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development and the Ministry of Health worked in tandem to relocate the boarders from the Princess Margaret Hospital to senior residential facilities,” he said during a press conference yesterday.
“This joint effort is budgeted to cost $800,000 in the first year for the care and needs of the residents. The relocation of the boarders creates much-needed space for critical care.”
Campbell said the majority of the borders are being placed in private senior citizen homes.
“The boarders are being relocated to various senior citizen homes, all of which are not government-owned,” he said.
“And so, at least 25 of them if I’m not mistaken, are being taken to a home that is not government-owned. So, that’s where the chunk of the money is going. Also, appreciate that those boarders are at an age where they call for additional care, constant care and so we are paying to ensure that those boarders, while taken out of the hospital, aren’t treated any less and not given any less attention than they would have been receiving at the Princess Margaret Hospital.”
Campbell said that given the circumstances, he believes the cost for the relocation is relatively inexpensive.
“Expensive is a relative term,” he said.
“And when you relate that to the near $6 million that was being spent or paid for them while they were in hospital, I think the cost is quite inexpensive.”
However, Campbell pleaded with relatives of the boarders to assist in covering the costs of their loved ones.
“What would be ideal for us at the ministry is if the children and loved ones of those boarders would find it in their hearts to pay back what I’m sure those borders would have extended to them in their formative years,” he said.
“Without going into detail, I’m sure without fear of honest contradiction, that a high percentage of those boarders have family members who I hope are listening to me right now and I hope would be touched that they would go and find a way to work with us to either reduce the expense, or those who have a greater means, take over the responsibility of caring for mommy and daddy and uncle, who would have once cared for them.”